My weblog ELECTRON BLUE, which concentrated on science and mathematics, ran from 2004-2008. It is no longer being updated. My current blog, which is more art-related, is here.

Thu, 19 Apr, 2007

A Visitor from Kansas

My friend from Lawrence, Kansas has arrived and we have been seeing the sights in Washington, DC before we head up to the annual retreat of our religious group. I'll be doing a lot of hosting and administrating and managing people over the next two weeks, not to mention traveling.

Since my friend has some Native ancestry and has many friends in the Indian community, her main goal for this visit to DC was to see the National Museum of the American Indian, which just opened last year. We visited there on Wednesday afternoon. I was much impressed by the architecture of the museum, which is composed of all curved lines. It was designed by Indian architects inspired by traditional Native buildings such as hogans and kivas, but it also strongly resembled Frank Lloyd Wright's Guggenheim Museum, especially in the interior spiral. The dome that covered the great central interior space also reminded me of the Pantheon in Rome, whose design is sometimes attributed to the Roman emperor Hadrian. I can confidently assert that the Emperor Hadrian had nothing to do with American Indians, but Frank Lloyd Wright did have some knowledge of Native styles, especially Maya and Aztec.

The Museum also has a cafeteria which attempts to serve foods which would be familiar to the Natives of various regions. This doesn't necessarily mean Native recipes, but it does use indigenous ingredients such as squash, beans, venison, berries, and corn. I tasted things from my own original region of New England and the Northeast: baked beans and a venison "terrine."

I also brought my friend to my usual hangout places such as Starbucks and Barnes and Noble, as well as my workplace. I often make packages of Trader Joe's non-perishable goodies to send to her and her husband in Kansas, because there is no Trader Joe's in Kansas, at least not yet.

Today, Thursday, we are heading up into Pennsylvania to prepare for the religious retreat. I hope to spend a lot of time outside, walking in the beautiful woodlands which belong to the retreat "campus." It's a little early for migrant birds, but there will always be something to focus my binoculars on. After all, birdwatching is a religious experience, too.

I've brought some spiritual reading with me. It is David Berlinski's A Tour of the Calculus, a fanciful, even poetic look at mathematics which is quite different from the mechanical cranking of derivative problems.

After the Retreat, my friend and I hope to proceed further northward to New England and my parents' neighborhood. Born and raised in Kansas, my friend has never seen the Atlantic Ocean. I hope to remedy this lack next week.

Posted at 3:55 am | link

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